One of the best parts of moving has been all of the new experiences we have been able to share together. For example, can you believe I have never been apple picking? Apple picking in the fall seems to be a common experience in Eastern Canada, but it’s just not something you do in Edmonton. Unless you count picking someone’s not so great, little crab apples off the tree in their back yard that is.
So when I found out that apple picking was a thing to do here, you better believe we were going to go out and pick ourselves a ton of apples. I did a little research and came across Mountain Orchards, which is about a 20 to 30 minute drive outside of Ottawa. It looked like they had a great set up going, complete with u-pick apples, fresh made donuts, wagon rides and the real cherry on top, Honeycrisp Apples aka the holy grail of apples.
I had been warned that Mountain Orchards can get very busy during apple picking season, so Byron and I decided to head out on a Saturday morning at around 10 am. I had been checking Mountain Orchard’s website and they had said the Honeycrisp apples were ready for picking so I knew we were in for a treat.
When we arrived at the Orchard it was already pretty busy so it was obviously a good decision to get there fairly early. The place was full of families, couples and groups of friends, all out to enjoy a beautiful fall morning and load up on delicious apples. We hopped on the wagon, road out to the orchards and picked ourselves 10 pounds of big, beautiful Honeycrisp apples.
Now 10 pounds of apples might sound like a lot of apples and let me tell you, it really is. So naturally I decided that the best thing to do with the apples would be to make a pie. I’m still a bit of a pie crust newbie and don’t have a tried and true recipe that works perfectly for me, so I have been trying out a bunch of different recipes. This go around I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I thought it worked pretty well, but I would still like to experiment with other recipes to see how they turn out.
*makes enough for dough for one double, or two single crust pies
- 2 1/2 cups (315 grams) flour
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
- 2 sticks (8 ounces, 225 grams tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
- Cut your cold butter into small cubes and put in the freezer to let the butter get nice and cold (but not frozen).
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
- Add the butter into the bowl and use a pastry cutter to incorporate the butter.
- Add 1/2 cup of the ice-cold water into the mixture. Use the spatula to gather the dough together. You will probably need an additional 1/4 cup to bring the dough together, but add it a tablespoon at a time.
- Take the dough out of the bowl, gather it together and knead it into one mound.
- Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disk and then wrap in plastic wrap.
- Let the dough chill for about 2 hours before rolling it out.
For the filling recipe I turned to the trusty folks at Serious Eats. I’d been eyeing their recipe for their Gooey Apple Pie and our giant bag of Honeycrisps was just begging to be made into something sweet and delicious.
Gooey Apple Pie
- 5 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 well beaten egg white
- Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position, turn the oven on to 425º and place a heavy baking sheet in the oven.
- Toss apples with sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, lemon juice and lemon zest. Let rest for 10 minutes.
- Transfer ovens to a large dutch oven, heat on low heat, constantly stirring until the apples are steaming. Cover and continue cooking over lowest heat setting, stirring frequently, using a thermometer to maintain temperature at below 160°F (71°C). Do not allow liquid to come to a boil for first 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until juices thicken enough that a spatula dragged through the bottom of the pot leaves a trail that very slowly closes back up, about 10 minutes. Transfer apples to a rimmed baking sheet, spread out into a single layer, and allow to cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Roll one piece of dough out into roughly a 12 inch diameter circle and transfer into a 9 inch pie plate.
- Fill the shell with the cooked apples and top with the second rolled out piece of dough.
- Trim the excess pie dough from the edges, leaving about a 1/2 inch of overhang and crimp the edges together.
- Cut 5 slits in the top of the pie for ventilation, brush the top with the beaten egg white, sprinkle with sugar and your pie is ready for the oven.
- Transfer the pie to the baking sheet in the oven and cook until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375º and continue baking until the pie is a deep golden brown, about 25 minutes.
- Remove the pie from the oven and allow the pie to cool to room temperature.
Now this pie sure was a thing of beauty when it came out of the oven and man did it ever smell good – apples, cinnamon and butter. It doesn’t get much better than that. The hardest thing was not immediately digging into the pie, but experience has taught me that letting a fruit pie set properly is key.
We both really enjoyed the pie, however I was a little disappointed that the bottom crust wasn’t a little more crisp. The filling itself was also quite tasty, but I thought it was a little more effort than it was worth. This is a recipe that is certainly worth trying, however I think for my next apple pie I will try something that is a little less involved.
In other news, this is my 200th blog post! How crazy is that? It’s hard to believe that I have been at this for more than 4 years now and how far this little blog has come. As always, thanks for reading along.